Sorry has been the hardest word for governments

Good overview by Evan Dyer.

When working on the Canadian Historical Recognition Program and some of the apologies then under consideration, all these issues came up. The article’s comment that lawyers “hate apologies” (given legal risks) brings back memories of many meetings.

And as noted, Conservative governments have been more open to apologies and recognition programs (Japanese wartime internment, Chinese head tax etc, residential school system):

Canada’s next official apology is already in the works.

The country, through its prime minister, is expected to express contrition for the historic cruelty of turning away the St. Louis, a ship carrying Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism in 1939.

The passengers had already been refused entry by Cuban and U.S. authorities. Rejected and dejected, they would return to a Europe on the brink of war. Many would die in Nazi concentration camps.

A statement of regret, 80 years after the fact, will fit firmly into the Canadian government’s record of official apology.

Until Tuesday’s LGBTQ2 apology — and leaving aside apologies to individuals such as Maher Arar — Canada had atoned for three types of wrongs: those related to the Indian Residential School system, wrongs related to immigration, such as the Chinese head tax or the Komagata Maru incident, and wrongs it perpetrated during the two world wars, such as the internment of Japanese-Canadians and the executions of Canadian soldiers during the First World War.

The St. Louis incident checks two of those three boxes.

Some in the Jewish community have fought for years to make the government acknowledge that its decision was heartless and tainted by anti-Semitism.

Jewish refugees aboard the MS St. Louis attempt to communicate with friends and relatives in Cuba, June 3, 1939. The ship’s passengers were later refused entry to Canada and many died in the Holocaust. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum/National Archives and Records)

Others are less keen. Sally Zerker, whose Polish-Jewish family members on the St. Louis were turned away, wrote in Canadian Jewish News that an apology now would be “nothing but a shallow, empty, meaningless act.”

“It will not bring back my relatives, or offer me any solace. Instead, it will whitewash a government that did nothing to help the Jews who were fleeing the Nazis and ignored the type of anti-Semitism that was endemic in Canada until the 1970s.”

But Zerker’s reaction is not typical. Though panned by some critics as “virtue-signalling” and gesture politics, apologies often mean a lot to the people to whom they’re directed.

Apologies, left and right

It was Conservative Brian Mulroney who broke the ice in 1988, when he apologized for the internment of Japanese-Canadians (Ronald Reagan the same year signed a similar apology to Japanese-Americans who were interned). Stephen Harper followed suit in 2006 with an apology for the head tax that unfairly penalized Chinese immigrants from 1885 to 1923.

Harper also made what is probably Canada’s biggest apology to date for the residential school system. Justin Trudeau’s apology last week extended that apology to residential school survivors in Newfoundland and Labrador who had been excluded.

Then prime minister Stephen Harper shakes hands with Indigenous leaders on June 11, 2008, the day he formally apologized on behalf of the Canadian government for the residential school system. The exclusion of schools in Newfoundland and Labrador led to another apology by Justin Trudeau last week. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Trudeau’s own father was no fan of saying sorry. When Mulroney first proposed an apology for Japanese-Canadians in 1984, Trudeau rebuffed him.

 “I do not think it is the purpose of a government to right the past,” Pierre Trudeau said. “It is our purpose to be just in our time.”

“My father might have a different perspective on it than I do,” Justin Trudeau said Monday, as he prepared to apologize for the persecution of LGBT Canadians.

“He came at it as an academic, as a constitutionalist. I come at it as a teacher, as someone who’s worked a lot in communities.”

Lawyers hate apologies

Trudeau could also have said his father came at it as a lawyer, which he was.

Lawyers routinely tell their clients that apologies can be construed as admissions of guilt or liability — and can carry a price tag.

Concerns about reparations long delayed an official U.S. government apology for slavery.

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton condemned his country’s record on a visit to Senegal in 1998, but added the caveat: “We cannot push time backward through the door of no return. We have lived our history.”

Ten years would pass before the U.S. Congress would pass a resolution apologizing for more than 200 years of slavery and segregation of African-Americans.

But the Senate’s beautifully worded apology to African-Americans ends with this rather jarring clause: “Disclaimer: Nothing in this resolution  a) authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or b) serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.”

Limited liability

Slavery began in United States during colonial times, but it persisted long after the U.S. Declaration of Independence, as the Congressional apology acknowledged.

Should Canada’s responsibility for historic wrongs extend to pre-Confederation times?

Stephen Harper thought not, which is why he excluded Newfoundland and Labrador from his residential school apology in 2008. Trudeau has decided that the province’s pre-Confederation history (N.L. joined in 1949) was Canada’s history. And it’s a history with its own set of wrongs.

Relations between Newfoundland’s original inhabitants, the Beothuks, and its settlers were so bad that encounters between the two usually left one side dead. The last confirmed member of the Beothuk people died in 1829.

And the same British Crown that pacified Quebec by extending legal tolerance and equality to its Catholic majority showed a much harsher face in its Newfoundland colony. There, it imposed the same code of discrimination and persecution it operated in Ireland: the Penal Laws.

The policies enacted in a forlorn bid to prevent Irish people from settling Newfoundland included banning the Roman Catholic religion, hunting priests and nuns, burning homes and outbuildings and refusing the right of burial.

Official government correspondence of the era typically refers to the island’s Irish people as “idle, disorderly, useless men and women” and “disaffected, disloyal, disorderly, enured to drunkenness, debauchery, vices and felonies of all kinds.”

Irish people lived under absurd restrictions — for example, no two “Papist” men could spend the winter under the same roof unless they were servants of a Protestant master — and any infraction was an excuse for exile.

Sins of the Crown

Acadian family members place flowers at the base of a monument honouring the memory of Acadians who were deported 250 years ago, on the waterfront in Halifax in 2005. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

At least one of Canada’s pre-Confederation wrongs has already been addressed in a formal apology — from the Queen.

The expulsion of the Acadians in 1755 from what is now the Maritimes and Quebec was a historic transgression whose consequences are still felt by the exiles’ descendants (some of whom live in Louisiana rather than Nova Scotia, for one thing).

Queen Elizabeth apologized to the Acadians in 2003, signing a royal “Proclamation Designating 28 July of Every Year as A Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval.”

But she was careful to add a rider:

“Our present proclamation does not, under any circumstances, constitute a recognition of legal or financial responsibility by the Crown.”

The Daily — Labour, Education in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census [immigration excerpts]

Immigration excerpts (looking forward to exploring the various data tables):

Immigrants accounted for almost one-quarter of the labour force

From 2006 to 2016, about two-thirds of Canada’s population growth was the result of migratory increase (the difference between the number of immigrants and emigrants). Similarly, the labour force was growing in large part due to increased immigration, with immigrants accounting for 23.8% of the labour force in 2016, up from 21.2% in 2006.

In 2016, half of the workforce in the CMA of Toronto were immigrants. The CMA of Vancouver had the second-highest proportion of immigrants in its labour force at 43.2%, followed by the CMA of Calgary at 32.5%.

The contribution of immigrants to the Canadian labour market is an important component of strategies to offset the impact of population aging, which might otherwise lead to a shrinking pool of workers and labour shortages. Many immigrants are admitted into Canada based on their skills and education.

In May 2016, among recent immigrants aged 25 to 54, 68.5% were employed, compared with an employment rate of 79.5% for core-aged immigrants who landed more than five years before the census, and 82.0% for the Canadian-born population. Among recent immigrants in this age group, 79.6% of men were employed, compared with 58.6% of women.

Although the employment rate for core-aged recent immigrants was lower than that of other immigrants and the Canadian-born, it increased from 67.1% in 2006 to 68.5% in 2016. For core-aged recent immigrant women, the employment rate increased from 56.8% in 2006 to 58.6% in 2016, and for core-aged recent immigrant men, the rate increased from 78.7% to 79.6%. In contrast, employment rates for core-aged Canadian-born men, as well as for non-recent immigrant men and women, declined over this 10-year period.

via The Daily — Labour in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census

Over half of recent immigrants have a bachelor’s degree or higher

Immigrants contribute to Canada’s economy by bringing their skills and high levels of educational attainment. Canada’s immigration system highly values education. In recent years, new programs have made it easier for international students who have completed their postsecondary education in Canada to immigrate into the country. As of the 2016 Census, 4 in 10 immigrants aged 25 to 64 had a bachelor’s degree or higher. In comparison, just under one-quarter of the Canadian-born population aged 25 to 64 had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Recent immigrants who landed in the five years prior to the 2016 Census were especially well-educated, with over half having a bachelor’s degree or higher. Recent immigrant women were more likely than recent immigrant men to have a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016. The reverse was true in the 2006 Census.

The percentage of all immigrants with a master’s or doctorate degree is twice that of the Canadian-born population. Among immigrants aged 25 to 64, 11.3% had a master’s or doctorate degree compared with 5.0% among the Canadian-born population. Recent immigrants were even more likely to have a master’s or doctorate degree, with 16.7% of them holding these graduate degrees in 2016.

Chart 5  Chart 5: Percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 with selected degrees, by immigrant status and period of immigration, Canada, 2016
Percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 with selected degrees, by immigrant status and period of immigration, Canada, 2016

Chart 5: Percentage of the population aged 25 to 64 with selected degrees, by immigrant status and period of immigration, Canada, 2016

…Close to one-third of refugees have upgraded their educational credentials in Canada

For the first time, the census included information on the admission category under which immigrants to Canada have arrived. The Canadian immigration system has three broad goals: to attract educated and skilled immigrants, to reunify families, and to provide humanitarian and compassionate refuge. Immigrants admitted under the refugee category face particular challenges as they are not admitted based on education, language or other assets, and may not have all of the skills required to find employment in their new country.

Close to one-third of refugees (31.5%) who have received their permanent resident status, upgraded their educational credentials by completing their highest postsecondary qualification in Canada. When looking only at those who arrived as adults (aged 18 and older), about 22% upgraded their education with higher qualifications in Canada, slightly more than immigrants admitted under either the economic or family categories, both at about 20%. The majority (71.1%) of refugees who immigrated to Canada as adults and upgraded their educational qualifications in Canada completed a trades or college diploma. In comparison, among economic immigrants who upgraded their education in Canada, the majority (56.5%) completed a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Via: Education in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census 

Amos: Let’s fix this Citizenship Act obstacle to Canadians overseas: Liberal MP

Liberal MP Will Amos (Pontiac) picks up on the arguments of Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock regarding the first generation limit.

As usual, the arguments focus on the relatively few Canadian expatriates who make a major economic, social or political contribution, compared to the many who are just pursuing personal or professional objectives. Many of these maintain minimal connections to Canada, judging by consular, passport and income tax data that I analyzed with respect to expatriate voting (see my earlier piece What should expatriates’ voting rights be? – Policy Options).

Amos repeats the old canard regarding the exemption for Crown servants serving abroad, all of whom pay taxes, are in daily in not hourly contact with Canada and Canadians, and who are sent abroad to further government objectives. Quite different from expatriates living in such places as Hong Kong, LA or Dubai who are pursing their personal and professional interests.

Amos is unclear on what alternative he proposes. Does he really want Canadian citizenship to be able to be passed on indefinitely, without any meaningful restriction or is he proposing some other limit (e.g., second generation)?

I am militating against this little-known 2006 amendment to the Citizenship Act that limits Canadian citizenship to only the first-generation of children born to (or adopted by) Canadians who live outside Canada. This means that children of Canadian parents who are travelling, studying or working abroad become citizens of Canada at birth or at the time of adoption. Their children, however, are not entitled to Canadian citizenship if they are born outside Canada. Given that two to three million Canadians are living or working overseas at any time, this issue affects potentially thousands of Canadian children each year.

Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock, respectively Canada’s former foreign affairs minister and UN ambassador, have written persuasively that the 2006 amendment treats Canadians differently based on where they live, which fails to account for the benefits of Canadians’ engagement abroad and may deter Canadians from going overseas. Furthermore, they note that the amendment is not applied uniformly, as federal employees and military personnel who serve outside Canada are not subject to the same rules. The potential deterrent for Canadians to serve abroad with international agencies or NGOs is obvious.

There can be no justifying this legislative disparity on vague grounds of “simplicity and transparency.” Whatever the administrative benefits – if any – of this legislation, they are outweighed by our need to ensure that all Canadians have equal rights, including the right to pass along citizenship equally. A Canadian is a Canadian.

With the passage of Bill C-6, the government has already fulfilled a major election promise to remove two-tiered citizenship and reverse the detrimental and artificial barriers to citizenship that were put in place by the Harper Conservatives. Now it’s time to move even further.

I urge Minister of Immigration and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen to take action and table a bill in the House of Commons that will address this inequity. Let us implement the fixes quickly and support, not needlessly hinder, Canadians trying to make a positive global impact.

via Amos: Let’s fix this Citizenship Act obstacle to Canadians overseas | Ottawa Citizen

Less open, less tolerant and more nervous, but Australia remains upbeat about immigration

Best summary of the Scanlon Foundation report, the benchmark annual report on Australian public attitudes:

Australians are less tolerant, less open and more nervous about the world than 10 years ago – but not as much as our politics might suggest. That’s the take-home message from the Scanlon Foundation’s long-running social cohesion study, which for the past decade has tracked our feelings about immigration, multiculturalism and Australian society.

Over the years, our sense of belonging, worth and social justice have all taken a hit. From a benchmark of 100 points in 2007, the social cohesion index now sits at 88 – an equal record low since the survey began. But on many measures, Australia’s commitment to multiculturalism and immigration remains upbeat against the odds.

“The simple message would be yes, we’re much worse than 2007,” says Andrew Markus, the report’s lead author and a professor at Monash University. “I think it’s the contrary message – considering what’s happened over the 10 years and so on, we’re actually surprisingly resilient in terms of our attitudes. Downward trend, but not by a huge margin.”

The decline in social cohesion was spurred largely by a growing rejection of difference and sense of pessimism about the future. In 2007, just 11 per cent of Australians felt their life would get worse over the coming few years – in 2017, that figure was 19 per cent. The number of people who strongly disagree with the idea that immigration makes Australia stronger increased from 8 per cent to 13 per cent.

In the past year alone, the number of people who say immigrants need to change their behaviour rose by five percentage points, while fewer people think Australians should do more to learn about immigrants’ customs. In 2017, 20 per cent of people said they had experienced discrimination because of their ethnicity or religion in the past 12 months, compared to 9 per cent back in 2007.

On the hot-button question of Islam, the proportion of Australians who feel negatively about Muslims is stable at 25 per cent – when asked by a telephone interviewer. But when people complete the survey online by themselves, that figure increases to 41.4 per cent. Positivity toward Muslims was highest in Melbourne (34 per cent) and lowest in Brisbane (24 per cent).

But other indicators tell a different story. The number of people who think immigration is “too high” is consistent at just over a third, while 40 per cent say it’s about right. Another 16 per cent of Australians say our current intake – 190,000 people per year – is too low. For reference, we’re significantly more enthused about immigration than Britain, where 60 per cent think it is too high, but less enamoured than Canada, where it is just 23 per cent.

A huge majority (75 per cent) still agree Australia is “a land of economic opportunity where in the long run, hard work brings a better life”. Financial satisfaction remains high, as does people’s sense of individual happiness and worth. But fewer people feel an acute sense of belonging in Australia, with those saying they belong “to a great extent” declining to 67 per cent from 77 per cent.

The figures lead Professor Markus to conclude we are “much more at risk” of a political upset along the lines of Donald Trump or Brexit. The recent resurgence of One Nation is “not a surprise”, he says, given the rising disaffection with politics. But does that mean more of us are motivated by race and immigration?


“No,” says Professor Markus. “You’ve got an element in our society, and it’s probably growing, but it’s growing at the rate of three, four, five per cent, rather than 30 or 40 per cent.”

The robustness revealed by Scanlon’s annual survey of 1500 Australians is notable given our changing canvas over the past decade. The overseas-born population has grown 37 per cent, with the number of those from China rising 109 per cent, India 176 per cent and the Philippines 74 per cent.

Overall, the percentage of the Australian population that is overseas-born crept up from 25 per cent to 28 per cent. But in the same period, the number of Sydney council areas with majority overseas-born residents rose from one in eight to one in five. In Melbourne, it went from one in 30 to one in nine.

“What that is saying to me is that there’s increasing concentration of the overseas-born population,” Professor Markus says. “You’ve got immigrant communities that are not being integrated in the way that they were in the past. We’ve got a number of risk factors there that are much more significant than they were in 2007.”

Having just smashed through the world record for uninterrupted economic growth, Australia is long overdue for a recession or the type of shock that could see hate and anti-politics boil over.

“We’ve got less money in the bank in terms of the capital we have to deal with a crisis,” says Professor Markus. “In terms of resilience and robustness, and risk factors, they’re there in neon lights. If you have a system which is rudderless, which doesn’t have strong leadership … I do believe that we’re much more at risk. Australia coped quite well with the global financial crisis – could it cope again if there were another similar event?”

via Less open, less tolerant and more nervous, but Australia remains upbeat about immigration

Phoenix Pay: Government got conflicting advice before launching ill-fated system

Don’t think I would recommend S.i. Systems given their candy coating compared to Gartner.

But Bagnall’s conclusion is right: really hard to put on the brakes on a major initiative at a late stage, given bureaucratic inertia and that people are vested in it going forward:

In the wake of last week’s damning report by auditor general Michael Ferguson — who concluded the pay system is at risk of chewing up $540 million more than its budgeted $310 million by 2019, with no end in sight — it’s worth re-examining some of the independent advice government agencies were getting in early 2016.

Treasury Board, along with Phoenix-sponsor Public Services and Procurement Canada, commissioned at least two reviews that were delivered just days before the February 2016 launch of the new pay system.

One review, by Gartner Inc., offered a number of important warnings, but the second report, by S.i. Systems, was surprisingly upbeat about the Phoenix project’s chances for success.

“The (Phoenix) initiative is very likely to achieve its goals and desired outcomes within the first year or two of full operations,” S.i. Systems noted in its draft final report dated Jan. 18, 2016. “All in-scope work has been completed, a (software) code freeze has been imposed on Phoenix and the Miramichi pay centre is fully operational.”

Ferguson last week gave short shrift to such sentiment, pointing out that roughly one in two federal government employees was experiencing a significant pay issue as of last June — fully 16 months after the launch of Phoenix.

S.i. Systems couched some of its conclusions with caveats, noting that the system was not yet fully automated, with the result some pay transactions were being dealt with manually. However, the consultants viewed this as a “temporary” issue during the transition from dozens of older pay systems to the consolidated Phoenix system.

S.i. Systems nevertheless was clear that Public Services and Procurement Canada — the department in charge of the project — should move ahead with Phoenix. Such a move “will be challenging,” the S.i. Systems report noted, “but it is likely that the problems and difficulties will be manageable.”

The consultants concluded “The (Phoenix) project team is to be commended for bringing this complex initiative to its current stage.”

The Gartner report, dated Feb. 11, 2016, offered a much different view. Not only did Gartner identify a dozen significant risks facing the impending rollout of Phoenix, it offered strategies for minimizing them. Many of the risks proved all too real, while the tips for reducing them were ignored.

Consider this item, offered in a discussion of potential problems associated with testing the new pay system: “End to end testing has not been performed by any department that Gartner has interviewed,” Gartner noted, “Best practice would dictate multiple end-to-end cycles be tested prior to go-live (in February 2016).”

The Gartner document added that its consultants were never provided with “a clearly documented testing strategy and plan.”

Gartner was hired on Dec. 21, 2015, leaving it just enough time to interview eight federal departments. Nevertheless, the sample included some of the largest ones (Health Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada and Public Services).

Other key risks identified by Gartner included training, support and transition.

For instance, Gartner notes that federal departments hadn’t yet implemented their training programs. This meant that if any gaps in training emerged it would be impossible to address these through revised or remedial courses before Phoenix went live. Gartner concluded the training shortfall could result in “unanticipated consequences such as an incorrect pay calculation.”

Gartner also brought attention to what has proved one of Phoenix’s most intractable problems — technical support for government employees using the system, a problem exacerbated by the reduction in the number of pay administrators starting in 2014.

Gartner correctly predicted there would be a very large number of queries facing pay administrators at the central location in Miramichi, N.B. — not least because employees across government had little opportunity beforehand to become familiar with Phoenix’s many quirks.

The consultants offered a number of suggestions for reducing the risks of the Phoenix rollout, including trying a more piecemeal approach. Divide the two main waves of employees into multiple waves, for instance, and start with the least difficult departments — those with relatively few seasonal employees, shift workers and other complicating features when it comes to pay.

Critically, Gartner also suggested running Phoenix in tandem with the older pay system as a contingency in case the new system didn’t perform as advertised.

These and other recommendations were ignored, with the result now all too plain to see. Nearly 350,000 pay transactions are today choking a system designed to accommodate 80,000.

To be fair, S.i. Systems also took note of the potential risks involved in abandoning the old pay system before making sure Phoenix actually worked. “(We) did not see evidence of a fallback or test strategy to mitigate this potentially risky event,” the S.i. Systems report noted in an Annex.

But the consultants downplayed the risk in its summary assessment that declared the Phoenix project was using an “excellent testing strategy” and that “when problems were encountered, appropriate and timely action was taken.”

But no matter the consultants’ advice, the final call about moving ahead with a project this big belonged to government. After nearly a decade in development, Phoenix suffered the flaw of unstoppable bureaucratic momentum. The directors of the project seemed not inclined to pay much attention to last-minute advice unless it happened to line up with where they were going anyway.

via Phoenix Pay: Government got conflicting advice before launching ill-fated system | Ottawa Citizen

Pathways to Prosperity 2017: Building Bridges between Indigenous and Immigrant Communities

Not able to attend this conference and session but some interesting presentations available at the links below.

My faves: IRCC presentation on the process of engaging Indigenous peoples in the new citizenship guide (explaining in part why it is taking so long) and the Vancouver and Winnipeg examples of what communities are doing on the ground:

Historically there has been little effort to bring together immigrant and indigenous communities, and to promote harmonious relations between these groups. Rather than gaining knowledge of indigenous history and culture, immigrants have often either been uninformed or presented with misinformation and stereotypes. This session focuses on strategies that can be implemented to remedy this situation and create mutual understanding, including several notable promising practices that are being used in various locations across the country to build bridges between indigenous and immigrant communities.

  • Authentic Sustainable Relationships: A Vancouver Model (Download Presentation) (Video – Coming Soon)Kory Wilson, Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships, British Columbia Institute of Technology

  • Colonial Persuasions: Sovereignty as the Limit of Reconciliation Education for New Canadians (Download Presentation) (Video – Coming Soon)Kevin FitzMaurice, Associate Professor, Department of Indigenous Studies, University of Sudbury

  • Building Bridges: Promoting a Harmonious Relationship between Indigenous People and Newcomers in Winnipeg (Download Presentation) (Video – Coming Soon)Abdikheir Ahmed, Director, Immigration Partnership Winnipeg, and Maria Morrison, Coordinator, Citizen Equity Committee of the City of Winnipeg

  • Citizenship and the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (Download Presentation) (Video – Coming Soon)Alec Attfield, Director General, Citizenship Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

via Pathways to Prosperity 2017 National Conference – Canada’s Place in the World: Innovation in Immigration Research, Policy, and Practice – Pathways to Prosperity: Canada

The Daily — Police-reported hate crime, 2016

Latest numbers and analytical note:

Police reported 1,409 hate crimes in Canada in 2016, 47 more than in 2015. This represented less than 0.1% of the 1,895,546 crimes (excluding traffic violations) that were reported by police services. The 3% increase in hate crimes was a result of more incidents targeting South Asians and Arabs or West Asians, the Jewish population, and people based on their sexual orientation. In contrast, hate crimes against Muslims and Catholics declined in 2016.

Canada’s population has become more diverse as the proportion of foreign-born, non-Christian religion and people who report as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or in a same-sex relationship continues to grow. For instance, overall, one-fifth of Canada’s population was foreign-born in 2016 and this could reach from 24.5% to 30.0% by 2036.

Since comparable data became available in 2009, the number of police-reported hate crimes have ranged from 1,167 incidents in 2013 to 1,482 incidents in 2009. On average, about 1,360 hate crime incidents have been reported annually by police since 2009.

Police data on hate-motivated crimes are also dependent on the willingness of victims to bring the incident to the attention of police and on the police services’ level of expertise in identifying crimes motivated by hate. As with other crimes, self-reported data provide another way of monitoring hate-motivated crimes. According to the 2014 General Social Survey on Victimization, which measures eight types of crimes, Canadians self-reported having been the victim of over 330,000 criminal incidents that they perceived as being motivated by hate (5% of the total self-reported incidents). Two-thirds of these incidents were not reported to the police.

Police-reported hate crimes refer to criminal incidents that, upon investigation by police, are found to have been motivated by hatred toward an identifiable group, as defined in subparagraph 718.2(a)(i) of the Criminal Code of Canada. An incident may be against a person or property and may target race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, language, sex, age, mental or physical disability, among other factors. In addition, there are four specific offences listed as hate propaganda offences or hate crimes in the Criminal Code of Canada: advocating genocide, public incitement of hatred, willful promotion of hatred, and mischief motivated by hate in relation to religious property. Police determine whether or not a crime was motivated by hatred and indicate the type of motivation based on information gathered during the investigation and common national guidelines for record classification.

Chart 1  Number of police-reported hate crimes, Canada, 2009 to 2016

Chart 1: Number of police-reported hate crimes, Canada, 2009 to 2016

Hate crimes targeting South Asians and Arabs or West Asians increases

In 2016, 48% of all police-reported hate crimes were motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity. That year, police reported 666 crimes that were motivated by hatred of race or ethnicity, up 4% from the previous year. This increase was largely due to 24 more hate crimes targeting South Asians and 20 more incidents targeting Arabs or West Asians. British Columbia (+13) and Ontario (+9) accounted for most of the increase in crimes against South Asians. Quebec reported 10 more crimes against Arabs or West Asians than in 2015 (from 31 incidents in 2015 to 41 in 2016).

Crimes motivated by hatred of East or Southeast Asian populations also increased from 2015 to 2016, rising from 49 to 61 incidents. While British Columbia reported 17 more incidents than the previous year, Ontario reported 7 fewer.

Police-reported hate crime against Aboriginal peoples continued to account for a relatively small proportion of hate crimes (2%), falling from 35 to 30 incidents.

Although down 4% (from 224 incidents to 214 in 2016), crimes targeting Black populations remained the most common type of hate crime related to race or ethnicity at 15% of all hate crimes.

Police report fewer hate crimes targeting the Muslim population

Police reported 460 hate crimes targeting religious groups in 2016, 9 fewer than in the previous year. These accounted for one-third of all hate crimes in Canada.

Following a notable increase in hate crimes against the Muslim population in 2015, police reported 20 fewer in 2016 for a total of 139. The decrease in police-reported hate crimes against Muslims was the result of fewer reported incidents in Quebec (-16), Alberta (-8) and Ontario (-6).

Similarly, after an increase in 2015, hate crimes against Catholics also decreased, from 55 to 27 in 2016. Ontario reported 16 fewer incidents, and declines were also seen in Quebec (-7) and the Atlantic provinces (-5).

In contrast, hate crimes against the Jewish population grew from 178 to 221 incidents. Increases were seen in Ontario (+31), Quebec (+11) and Manitoba (+7).

Increase in hate crimes targeting sexual orientation

Hate crimes targeting sexual orientation accounted for 13% of all police-reported hate crimes in 2016, rising from 141 incidents in 2015 to 176 in 2016. A greater number of incidents over these two years were reported in Quebec (+15), British Columbia (+11), Ontario (+7) and Saskatchewan (+4).

The national trend driven by more reported offences in Quebec and British Columbia and fewer in Ontario and Alberta

Among the provinces, the greatest increase in the absolute number of police-reported hate crimes was observed in Quebec, where incidents rose from 270 in 2015 to 327 in 2016. This increase was mostly attributable to more hate crimes targeting Arabs and West Asians, the Jewish population and sexual orientation.

British Columbia also reported more hate crimes, rising from 164 to 211. The increase was attributable to crimes against the East or Southeast Asian and South Asian populations, which doubled from 2015 to 2016 (from 15 to 32 and from 11 to 24, respectively).

In contrast, the number of police-reported hate crimes in Alberta declined from 193 in 2015 to 139 in 2016 due to fewer crimes targeting religion.

Hate crimes were more violent in 2016

Based on data from police services that provided detailed information on hate crimes for both 2015 and 2016, an increased violence was observed in hate crimes. For example, violent hate-motivated crimes (for example, assault, threats, criminal harassment and other violent offences) rose from 487 in 2015 to 563 in 2016, up 16%. In 2016, 43% of hate crimes were violent, compared with 38% in 2015.

Hate crimes targeting sexual orientation continued to be the most violent hate crimes. In 2016, 71% of hate crimes motivated by hatred of the victims’ sexual orientation were violent crimes. By comparison, 27% of hate crimes targeting religion and 45% targeting ethnicity were violent.

via The Daily — Police-reported hate crime, 2016

The Nazi Next Door Is Real—and Unspectacular | Noah Rothman Commentary Magazine

I agree with Rothman here.

Understanding the banality and normality of someone with unacceptable views does not mean accepting the views but rather helps one avoid one-dimensional caricatures, a lesson that applies to both the ‘left’ and ‘right’:

Six million Jews. Nine million Soviet civilians. Nearly 2 million Poles. Over 500,000 Roma and Yugoslavs. Approximately a half million more religious minorities, homosexuals, political criminals. Up to 10 million Chinese, Indochinese, Indonesians, Koreans, and Filipinos. Millions of soldiers. All told, the conduct of fascist regimes in the mid-20th Century resulted in between 50 and 80 million deaths. These rather elementary historical facts are, apparently, necessary preamble. If you’re going to engage in any rumination on National Socialism, neo-Nazism, or a predisposition toward racial separatism, it’s apparently necessary to tell readers exactly how they should think about those anti-social traits.

That’s the only logical conclusion available to those who have perused the cascade of criticism heaped upon the New York Timesfor publishing a profile of a self-described white nationalist who might have otherwise been unidentifiable. Indeed, that was the entire point of the piece. “A Voice of Hate in America’s Heartland” explored the views and lives of Tony Hovater, the “Nazi sympathizer next door,” and the white supremacists with whom he was surrounded as they tried to integrate into an Ohio community.

The profile explored not just Hovater’s views but his tastes, which is what seems to have sent Times readers into a state of manic agitation. The piece and all who were involved in its publication were savaged for “humanizing” a neo-Nazi by noting that he, too, shops at the local supermarket and enjoys “Seinfeld” references.

“It is completely insane that big U.S. media keep printing the anti-Semitic garbage of *actual Nazis* without even bothering to correct them,” wrote Toronto Star correspondent Daniel Dale. He specifically cited Hovater’s Holocaust denialism and the Times’ dispassionate retort, which held that six million dead Jews is a “widely accepted” figure. “Why does the NY Times keep normalizing Nazis?” Arizona State University journalism professor Dan Gillmor asked. “This article does more to normalize neo-Nazism than anything I’ve read in a long time,” FiveThirtyEight analyst Nate Silver complained. He theorized that the Times’editors greenlighted this “deeply sympathetic portrait of a white supremacist” because of their collective sense of guilt over failing to appreciate the issues that animate Donald Trump’s America (a theory that both underestimates Trump’s America and likely overstates the collective self-consciousness at the Times).

The outcry grew so deafening that a Times editor felt compelled to apologize for publishing what the critics saw as a soft-focus human interest story about a man with monstrous views.  Among the criticisms of this piece offered by liberals like Quartz editor Indrani Sen and’s Ezra Klein was that a gauzy portrayal of a neo-Nazi seemed to be the profile’s only purpose. “[I]t doesn’t add anything to our understanding of modern Nazis,” Klein offered.

But it did.

The article did not begin and end with an exploration of the items on the Hovaters’ wedding registry. It delved into both Hovater and his network’s thinking regarding how they intend to integrate into acceptable society. It was a deeply disturbing portrayal of a racist movement that is beginning to eschew shock tactics in favor of infiltration and the persuasion of what the profile’s subject called “normal people.”

It described Hovater’s social media habits, which are shared by much of the alt-right—a useful detail for those who may be interested in preventing white nationalists from blending into society without a hitch. The profile explored Hovater’s reading, music tastes, and the evolution of his political thinking. It detailed his affinity for Vladimir Putin, his hatred for the press, and his disgust with United States as it is currently constituted.  If you’re interested in identifying neo-Nazis in the wild, this is all useful information. The piece also described Hovater’s life at home, where he minced garlic, cooed over his cats, and talked about having children with his future wife. For the Times’ critics, this was unacceptable. “That evil is also banal is not new,” Klein quipped. Not so. Apparently, for those who were scandalized by this profile, it is.

Undergirding the left’s revulsion over the “normalization” of an American Nazi is the idea that some—not them, of course, but the vulgar multitudes—will be tempted to embrace white supremacy because a welder in Ohio enjoys  “Twin Peaks.” This is not prudence but pretension. These liberal critics imagine themselves enlightened enough to know evil when they see it in print, but not you.

This is a censorious impulse. It represents the left’s troubling allergy to moral complexity. A man can have cats, buy barbecue sauce, love and be loved like the rest of us, and also be a beast of unspeakable prejudice and cruelty. Likewise, just because an organization calls itself “antifascist” doesn’t render it morally righteous when bands of “antifascists” form marauding bands with the intent of putting anyone who looks like a Trump supporter in the hospital. And so on.

Increasingly and to its detriment, the left in the age of Trump has convinced itself that its adversaries are, or ought to be, one-dimensional monstrosities with a monomaniacal devotion to undermining all that they hold dear. The New York Times should not be catering to children who lash out when their adversaries are depicted as fully formed human beings. The objection here is not to reportorial standards at the Times but to a set of facts the objectors cannot stand.

via The Nazi Next Door Is Real—and Unspectacular | commentary

York U research finds children show implicit racial bias from a young age | Science News

Interesting research and study:

Do children show implicit racial preferences from an early age? According to new research from York University’s Faculty of Health, they do. In three separate studies with over 350 five to twelve-year-old White children, York University researchers found that children show an implicit pro-White bias when exposed to images of both White and Black children. But the type of bias depended on what children were asked to do.

The research was conducted by Professor Jennifer Steele in the Faculty of Health and her former PhD student, Amanda Williams now at the School of Education, University of Bristol. Steele says the goal of the research was to gain a better understanding of children’s automatic racial attitudes.

In the research published in the journal Child Development, a total of 359 White 5- to 12-year-olds completed child-friendly category-based (Implicit Association Test) and exemplar (Affective Priming Task; Affect Misattribution Procedure) implicit measures of racial attitudes.

When children were asked to sort faces by race on the category-based Implicit Association Test, both younger (5- to 8-year-olds) and older (9- to 12-year-olds) showed greater automatic positivity toward White as opposed to Black children.

“When we ask children to categorize by race, both younger and older White children show a pro-White bias. They are faster to match pictures of children who are White with positive images and pictures of children who are Black with negative images, relative to the reverse pairing” said Steele.

However, when they were not categorizing these faces by race, a different pattern of implicit preferences was found. On these exemplar measures, children were asked across many trials to quickly decide whether neutral images were pleasant or unpleasant. Just before seeing each neutral image, children briefly saw a picture of a Black or White child. On these implicit measures, children showed no evidence of automatic negativity toward images of Black children, despite demonstrating consistent pro-White versus Black bias on the category-based measure.

“On these measures, only younger White children show racial preferences. This was specifically a positive attitude towards other White children, and not a negative attitude towards Black children.”

The researchers also found that older children, aged 9 to 12, weren’t automatically positive toward other White children, which Steele says is consistent with other findings suggesting that individual characteristics, such as shared interests, become more important as children get older. Together, the results suggest that positive and negative racial attitudes can follow distinct developmental trajectories.

The findings can have important implications for programs designed to prevent or decrease prejudice in childhood. Specifically, Steele believes that interventions designed to decrease negativity towards other races might not be the best approach for younger children. Instead, interventions should encourage children to see members of other groups positively as well, although she believes that more research examining interventions is needed.

“In early childhood what we know is that children tend to be egocentric and socio-centric. They think that they’re great and that other people who are like them are great too. That’s why we recommend using interventions that don’t challenge these beliefs, but instead promote the fact that people from different backgrounds or who look different than them often have a lot in common and they can be great too.

She adds that this can be very important in the classroom.

“It is important that classroom teachers promote the benefits of diversity and expose children to positive role models from all different backgrounds. We live in an increasingly multicultural society and exposure to this diversity – even through books or media – can make children more comfortable with this diversity. Children have some awareness of race from an early age, so research suggests that taking a colour-blind approach – or pretending that race doesn’t exist – is not the best approach.”

Steele adds that classroom teachers should both create and seize opportunities to celebrate diversity and promote multiculturalism for their students.

via York U research finds children show implicit racial bias from a young age | EurekAlert! Science News

A guide: Think before you appropriate

Interesting guide developed by the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) project led by George Nicholas of Simon Fraser :

To mark this latest appropriation [Victoria Secret] , I felt it was time to recirculate a guide that was developed by the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) project, a project I led that explores and facilitates fair and equitable exchanges of knowledge relating to heritage.

In response to the frequent instances of appropriation in the news relating to the fashion industry, members of the IPinCH team produced “Think Before You Appropriate: A Guide for Creators and Designers.”

Taking a practical and pragmatic approach by posing a series of questions to consider, this guide unpacks important questions about cultural appropriation. It provides advice to designers and marketers on why and how to avoid misappropriation and underlines the mutual benefits of responsible collaborations with Indigenous artists and communities.

The lead developer on the guide was Dr. Solen Roth, with illustrations by Eric Simons. Roth has done extensive research on Indigenous cultural heritage and commercial products, especially in Canada’s Northwest Coast.

The guide has much broader applications than just fashion. To note just two instances, it’s been used by one book author to help him decide whether to contact First Nations groups to discuss using their mythology in a children’s book, and by a potter who manufactured Japanese-inspired ceramics.

As my colleagues and I have found, many First Nations and Native Americans are willing to share their culture, and are open to conversations with product developers. Reaching out and consulting can lead to fruitful collaborations and mutually beneficial results.

Here are some excerpts from the guide:

The costs and risks of misappropriation:

For you and your company:

  • Discrepancies between your practices, on the one hand, and the values you want to be associated with, on the other
  • Negative campaigns and calls to boycott your business
  • Costs of removing or modifying a line of products, both online and in stores
  • Lawsuits and other legal challenges

For Indigenous artists and communities:

  • Reinforcement of stereotypes that are the source of discrimination
  • Misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples and their cultural expressions, undermining efforts to educate the public about their histories and culture
  • Heightened competition for artists and artisans who have been developing these cultural expressions, generation after generation

The benefits of a responsible collaboration:

To you and your company:

  • Less risk of your products causing offence or harm to Indigenous artists and communities, and less risk to your personal or company credibility
  • Cultural richness and relevance from higher-quality renditions and more culturally informed interpretations of that cultural heritage
  • Opening your business to the market of the artists’ networks and communities
  • Brand association with progressive efforts to counter stereotypes about Indigenous peoples

To Indigenous artists and communities:

  • Opportunities to counter stereotypes to a broad audience and consumer base
  • Opportunities for public education about history and culture at a wider scale
  • Heightened public recognition of community heritage
  • Artist exposure to a wider audience
  • Increased economic resources to support individual livelihoods, as well as community efforts to ensure cultural perpetuation

Before designing your product or garment ask:

  1. Does my project truly require the use of Indigenous cultural heritage?
  2. Am I basing my work on accurate knowledge and representations of Indigenous peoples and their cultural heritage?
  3. Am I sure that my work in no way reproduces stereotypes about Indigenous peoples?
  4. Am I sure that my work does not show disrespect for the beliefs and world views of the Indigenous peoples whose cultural heritage inspires me?
  5. Does my work reflect a deep and original reinterpretation of elements from various sources of inspiration, or does it rely on the copying or imitation of existing Indigenous works or styles?
  6. If I embark on a project that is inspired by Indigenous cultural heritage, what steps will I take to ensure that it leads me to a respectful and responsible collaboration?

via A guide: Think before you appropriate